CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched an initiative on Friday to bring in additional resources to support students whose learning has been significantly disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The district is seeking partners nationwide to offer evidence-based tutoring and learning support services to students.
Officials say the goal is to build a network of organizations that will serve as an extension of CMS instructional efforts, offering support to students before school, after school, and on the weekends and summers.
The district is prepared to invest $50 million from federal COVID-relief funds to build this student support network.
Officials say programs are expected to begin as soon as second semester 2021-22 and last through the end of the 2023-24 school year.
“It is clear that we must intervene now to improve outcomes for many of our students, especially those from traditionally underserved racial and socioeconomic backgrounds,” said CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston. “Gaps in student achievement that existed before the pandemic have grown wider, and they will not narrow without expanding learning opportunities and support beyond the time students are with our teachers and staff in classrooms during the school week.”
Winston says in-classroom efforts to help students whose learning was disrupted during the pandemic will continue, but emphasized that securing support from outside agencies and organizations is necessary to turn the tide for CMS students.
“If we are going to change the trajectory of outcomes for all students, we must build a portfolio of support,” said Dr. Frank Barnes, CMS chief accountability officer. “Teachers and school staff are challenged like never before. They are rising to that challenge, but we see a clear need for bench strength to provide additional support for students and families during a period of prolonged disruption to traditional public education.”
CMS officials say they are open to a variety of learning models because students’ need differ, but stress that systems and resources must be proven to be effective in improving outcomes.
Qualified organizations interested in helping these students can click here to learn more.
“Students entered this school year in a different place than pre-pandemic from a social and emotional standpoint, a home and community life standpoint and an educational standpoint,” said Barnes. “Every individual student must be provided opportunity to reach his or her potential, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to address disrupted learning. That’s why we are casting a wide net and planning to work with partner organizations that offer various methods for working with families on solutions uniquely suited for their students.”
CMS officials say when approved partners begin services in January, the district will encourage families to participate in the educational support programs.
“First we must develop the network of support systems,” said Barnes. “Then it becomes critical for CMS and community partners to engage families because the only way our community will see results from this initiative is with widespread student participation.”